Covered California Announces Proposed Rates for 2015 Small Business Health Options Program – Premium Increases Average 5.2%
Health insurance premiums for Covered California’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) have been proposed and submitted to state regulators. Small-business consumers can expect to see a statewide weighted average increase of just 5.2 percent for the 2015 plan year.
In its role as an “active purchaser,” Covered California was able to keep increases low for a majority of SHOP consumers. Some consumers can expect to see an increase of less than 2 percent. Covered California worked as an active purchaser to get consumers the best rates and coverage value available to them and their families.
“As with the rates negotiated for the individual market, the rates for SHOP were established with the consumer in mind,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. He added, “SHOP can be an important tool for California’s small businesses, not only to help keep their current employees healthy, but also as a recruitment tool for prospective employees. These rates will help give those businesses added incentive to offer their employees health coverage and give the companies the ability to remain competitive with their larger counterparts.”
Consumers who want to enroll in a health insurance plan through their small employer have several options when making their choice. New to SHOP in 2015 is the dual-tier option, which allows for the employer to offer plans at two metal tiers as long as they are contiguous (e.g., the Bronze and Silver levels, the Silver and Gold levels or the Gold and Platinum levels). Also, additional plan designs will be offered by Health Net, Western Health Advantage and Kaiser Permanente, which will provide consumers with the essential health benefits required under the Affordable Care Act but also a little more flexibility with their premiums.